NEET believers? An analysis of belief on an urban housing estate

Chris Shannahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the impact that the experience of deep-seated social exclusion amongst unemployed white young men on a large urban housing estate in Birmingham, UK has on the ways in which they talk about identity, meaning and belief. Arising from detailed ethnographic fieldwork, the article forwards an analysis of current debates about youth social exclusion and the deployment of the acronym NEET with reference to these young men and others like them across the UK. Drawing upon conversations between the author and young men during fieldwork, the article seeks to bridge the gap between social-science-based examinations of youth social exclusion and theological analyses of youth spiritualities to critically interrogate current debates about the nature of belief and belonging. In particular, the article raises a key critical question: is the word belief fit for purpose when considering the experience of socially excluded young men on urban housing estates?. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-335
Number of pages20
JournalCulture and religion
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2012


  • belief
  • NEET
  • social exclusion
  • urban youth


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